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Hi, I have an 8-month-old "puppy" who seems to be regressing in his housebreaking. My sister and I also have 4 cats in our apartment, and all animals are only allowed on the bottom floor of our unit. This is because we had serious damage in our previous apartment due to our cats preferring to pee on our carpets rather than in the 6+ litter boxes we provided them. We are now in a new apartment and we decided to fence off (baby gate) the upstairs, and leave the animals downstairs since it's hardwood. However, some of the stairs and the landing are still accessible to the animals (because of where the baby gate had to fit) and we found a couple of our cats starting to pee on those stairs. I always keep a puppy pad down for my dog and he was consistently using it, pooping and peeing on it during the time I was at work. Then probably starting a couple of months ago, I'd come back from work and notice several piles of poop on several different stairs, along with pee sometimes on the stairs (sometimes on the risers so I think he is marking?) and absolutely nothing on his pad. My sister and I ripped up the carpet on the landing that the cats kept peeing on and now they've stopped, but the carpet on the stairs is still there and this is where he's going-so it's weird to me that he's peeing there because I don't think the cats have ever gone there. But what's most puzzling to me is that I or my sister will take him out and then sometimes he will come right back inside and pee in a completely different area across the room near the back door on the hardwood! The cats don't pee there, but their litter boxes are near there, so maybe he thinks that's OK? I'm debating whether this is behavioral or some sort of bladder or other infection? Peeing on the hardwood after going outside is completely throwing me. :confused::confused::confused: If anyone has any ideas, please please share! Thank you!
 

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It sounds to me like its more behavioral. Your puppy probably sees the cats getting away with it and thinks its ok. Try to remember that training is an ongoing process. Make trips outside more frequent and reward for peeing outside. The potty pad is probably not helping because you're telling your dog its okay to pee inside, and he/she may be struggling to figure out which part of inside is ok.
My older dogs have always seemed to revert in potty training for he for a few weeks every time we got a new puppy. Remember that consistency is key for training a pup.
 

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Sounds like the puppy was never trained that inside is not an appropriate place to potty. I would treat the dog like he was a brand new puppy in terms of housetraining. First step, get rid of the puppy pads. Next, put the cat litter in an area that only the cats can access. (in a closet behind a baby gate or up out of the pups reach) and clean all the spots he's peed in with a cleaner specific for pet odors. (nature's miracle is a good one) The idea from this point forward is to never let the pup potty in the house. Also I don't know much about cats, but isn't their natural instinct to want to go in the litter box? Maybe it's not clean often enough or there is something about the location of the litter box that is turning them off? Either way I would look into getting that issue sorted out as well. If the cat's are peeing in the house it's going to make it much harder to get the pup not to because he'll smell the cat pee and think it's OK.

Then start at the beginning with house training the pup. He's should be under constant supervision when he's got freedom in the house, either you are watching him constantly or he's tethered to you. If you can't watch him he should be in his crate or play pen. If he can't be trusted to not pee in the house he shouldn't have unsupervised access to the house. He should get potty breaks frequently, every 1-2 hours to start and you should be able to extend the time between breaks fairly quickly. If you're at work during the day, you might want to look into have someone come by at lunch and let him out for a few weeks until he starts getting a hang of the potty training and he should be kept in a confined puppy safe space (play pen, kitchen, bathroom, etc). When he does go outside he should get a very high value treat immediately after doing his business and lots of praise. At 8 months old he should catch on pretty quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The only reason I ever doubted it was behavioral was because he was using the pee pads consistently for a few weeks or so when we first moved in. Maybe the more the cats peed, the more he thought that was OK.

Right now I take him out about every 4 hours. He has also started signaling to me when he has to go sometimes and I hadn't taken him out yet, so I thought he was getting better. I also agree that the pee pad could be confusing, but I wanted an option in case he "physically" couldn't hold his bladder while I'm at work since he is still somewhat young. I was OK with it when he had accidents at our last apartment because he was only 4 months or so. But maybe where I failed is not crating him. I kept him in my bathroom vanity area with tarp covering the floor and he was allowed to go anywhere on that tarp. I put potty pads down in a specific area on the tarp hoping to entice him there, but he would just shred those with his teeth.

As for the cats, we're actually going to be boarding them with someone for several months until we can help resolve this issue. You're right, the cats are making this problem very difficult to nip in the butt. And we've tried everything with the cats-many litters, many boxes, frequent cleanings...I have considered hiring someone to come in to take him out once the cats are out, but how would you know it's OK to stop having that person come after a while? Also, have you heard of people crate training a dog for 8 hours while they're at work? I never wanted to which is why I kept him in my bathroom area instead. But seems that has set me up for failure...

Also, in regards to crate training, do you crate on weekends even when you are home with the dog?
 

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The only reason I ever doubted it was behavioral was because he was using the pee pads consistently for a few weeks or so when we first moved in. Maybe the more the cats peed, the more he thought that was OK.
The smell of the cat pee would be a huge factor in the pup going in the house. Even for a completely housetrained dog, the smell of another animals pee would be a very enticing place to pee.

Right now I take him out about every 4 hours. He has also started signaling to me when he has to go sometimes and I hadn't taken him out yet, so I thought he was getting better. I also agree that the pee pad could be confusing, but I wanted an option in case he "physically" couldn't hold his bladder while I'm at work since he is still somewhat young. I was OK with it when he had accidents at our last apartment because he was only 4 months or so. But maybe where I failed is not crating him. I kept him in my bathroom vanity area with tarp covering the floor and he was allowed to go anywhere on that tarp. I put potty pads down in a specific area on the tarp hoping to entice him there, but he would just shred those with his teeth.
At 8 months old he should be physically able to hold it for quite a while. At 8 months old my pup was able to hold it until I got home from work. Because your guy is used to peeing in the house he'll need to be taught to hold it. Crate training/confining him helps with this because dogs have a natural instinct to not potty where they eat and sleep. So he'll want to hold it. They don't have this same instinct for going inside or outside, and until you teach them that those are 2 different things they really don't get it.

Keeping him in a small room is fine. I used a 3'x3' play pen, gave him enough room to move around and play a bit, but not enough room for him to be ok with going potty in there. I fed him his meals in the play pen and kept a bed, toys, water, and gave him treats in there so it would feel more like a den or bedroom type space for him.

What type of dog? and how big is he?

As for the cats, we're actually going to be boarding them with someone for several months until we can help resolve this issue. You're right, the cats are making this problem very difficult to nip in the butt. And we've tried everything with the cats-many litters, many boxes, frequent cleanings...I have considered hiring someone to come in to take him out once the cats are out, but how would you know it's OK to stop having that person come after a while? Also, have you heard of people crate training a dog for 8 hours while they're at work? I never wanted to which is why I kept him in my bathroom area instead. But seems that has set me up for failure...

Also, in regards to crate training, do you crate on weekends even when you are home with the dog?
Wish I could offer some advice on the cats, but I have zero knowledge on those fuzzy little guys, we had cats when I was growing up but they always just went in their litter box. And all I've ever heard from cat people is that they train themselves... apparently not. lol.

Knowing when to stop having someone come during the day is a play it by ear type thing. You'll probably know when it's time but as a guideline at his age I would say if he goes 2 weeks without any kind of accident you can try dropping the midday visit.

I have heard of people crating their dog all day. I didn't do it, felt it was too confining, as I mentioned above I went with a play pen. As he got more trust worthy I worked him up to have free reign of the bedroom, then bedroom and living room and then the whole house. I would crate or put him in his play pen on the weekends sometimes if I couldn't watch him consistently or had to go out of the house without him.

He did however sleep in his crate at night until I could trust him to not pee on my bed.

Regardless if you keep him in the crate during the day or not I would highly recommend crate training him now. It can be very useful to have a safe place the pup can go. My guy is 1 year old now and has constant access to his crate, he goes in there to relax, leaves bones in there for later, hides if there are too many people in the house and he wants to get away. Plus you may need to have him in the crate for traveling, vet visits, boarding, or a variety of other reasons in the future. It's a good thing for him to learn now and be comfortable with in case you need to use it. For instance I fly out to visit my parents and siblings over Christmas, took my pup with me on the flight. He needed to be in his crate while in the airport and on the plane. Because he is some comfortable with his crate life was super easy, he didn't make a peep the entire flight and slept pretty much the whole time. He got many compliments from the flight crew and other passengers about how good a boy he was being. lol!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow, thanks so much for the thorough reply! Greatly appreciated! :D

And I agree, cats are a mystery :confused: :eek:! I believe they can self-teach, but they are super independent and do as they please. They are not trainable as far as I have learned!

And I also agree that he should be able to physically hold it by now. He has no "accidents" at my parent's house, and I'm sure it's because the house hasn't been soiled with cat pee. I think crate training is the way forward, or at least confinement somehow for the whole day. I had actually planned to get a play pen back when he was tiny, but went with the bathroom area to give him more space. However, a play pen is bigger than a crate. He actually loves his crate when I use it to calm him down so I wouldn't really be worried he'd dislike it. Only thing I worry about is he used to jump my baby gate. Once I bought one almost 5' tall, he didn't jump anymore. I'd have to get a playpen at least that tall, and I think I saw some when I was looking on Amazon. What would you suggest putting down in there? Of course I prefer to leave just one potty pad, but accidents worry me so I tend to want to line the entire area with yoga mats or something. But then doesn't that defeat thte purpose because he thinks he can go anywhere on the mat?

He's a complete, yet adorable mutt! :thumbsup: He looks like a mix of ridgeback and lab, but he's only 45 pounds
 

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Oh man. He's so freaking cute!!

Bathroom might be fine for his size.. I went with the playpen because I wanted something that was big enough for him to move around in but not too big that he would be able to pee in the corner and feel like it was far enough away from his food. My pup was (and is) a little guy though. He's pushing a whopping 10lbs these days, but when he was in the pen he would was 3-4lbs.

I do like the fact that you can move the play pen around though. I use he's playpen as a makeshift gate now to block him off of places I don't want him going for whatever reason. (for instance yesterday when the repair guy came to service the furnace I blocked off half the condo so the guy could work)

I personally wouldn't put anything down for him to potty on. I have those rubber floor mats down in my pups doggy area, just to add some cushion to the hard floors. However in your case I would work up to adding anything that could be confused as something to pee on for the time being. Start with putting his crate, some water, toys, a special bone or chew or stuffed kong that he only gets in the pen.

Oh also where ever you put the pen (or if you use the bathroom) make sure to clean it thoroughly with an enzyme cleaner (nature's miracle is good)
 

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You were given good advice on your dog, I can try to help a bit with your cats.

What kind of litter boxes do you have? Have you tried different types? I have five cats, was six until about two years ago when one passed from cancer. Multiple cats can be tricky at times. First you need to make sure they don't have UTI, that can cause them to go outside the box because of the pain. If you have covered boxes some of the cats could feel trapped, either because of other cats or the puppy cornering them in the box. It makes it become a dangerous spot and they will want to avoid it. I like using rubber maid bins and cutting them down as needed. Some have tops that I cut a hole in or left the lid off all together. I'd suggest trying different types of boxes and different litters. Though I'd switch one at a time, you don't want to overwhelm the cats. I like Blue Buffalo walnut cat litter, it is soft on the cats and keeps the smell down better than clay. It also last much longer and it clumps and is scoopable. Also try not to have all the boxes in one spot. I have most in one room blocked off to the dogs, then have two in an upstairs bathroom, one in a spare bedroom that the dogs can't get to and another up in the finished attic. It helps, each cat has it's favorite and it's harder for any one cat to guard them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you so much for the cat advice! Honestly, we've tried all types of boxes and all types of litter. The only thing I haven't looked into is medical issues...
 

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And I'd love to spread the boxes all over, but since they're all on one floor, not an easy thing to do. Although before the puppy we used to and it didn't seem to matter. They'd still choose carpet :mad: I'd love to have some boxes upstairs away from the dog, but because of their history, too scared to take down that baby gate...
 
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